Resume Headings

Don’t overlook the name – Essentially, your name is the title of your resume, and it’s something that students often don’t put enough thought into. When potential employers finish looking at your resume, what’s the one thing you want them to remember? Your name. So you should make sure the way you present your name grabs their attention. Human beings are visual creatures, so your name should be attractive visually. Consider the size, font, style, and layout of the name. Make it big – You want your name to stand out,...

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The Art of the Pick-Up: Wooing Your Future Employer in the Cover Letter

On Wooing Your Audience (Or Not) Imagine for a moment that you’re in the market for a new significant other. Well, good news: your friend, Imma MutualFriend, claims that she knows your perfect match and tells you all about this person. From what you’re told about this match, you’re interested too. Imma promises to connect you two soon. Flash forward, and the time comes for you to meet this supposed match. At a party, Imma points you in their direction. With the goal of wooing this person with all of...

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Establishing Your Professional Self: Résumé Writing

Compiling a résumé can feel like a daunting task. Just like essay writing, résumé creation works well as a process. Before worrying about the format of the résumé and where to place everything in a document, consider beginning by compiling an informal list of past and present work experience and education. Once you have a first draft, look at résumés in the field you are applying to, since every field has different standards and preferences. Remember: there are no one-size-fits all résumés. The key to constructing a polished résumé is...

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Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

When applying for jobs, a well-written cover letter is just as important as a well-written resume. While the resume is designed to provide an overview of your relevant skills and qualifications, the cover letter is your opportunity to discuss relevant experiences, connect those experience to qualities and qualifications from the job ad, and to display your personality to your reader. In other words, the cover letter is your chance to humanize yourself to your reader and to give the reader a sense of who you are and why you’re uniquely...

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Preparing Job Materials: Reading Job Ads

Getting a job is hard work. Higher than normal unemployment and significant increases in the number of college graduates mean that even well-qualified applicants may find it challenging to land the position they want. This chapter endeavors to help you set yourself apart – in a positive way – by improving the one part of the job search you can control: your application materials. The sections that follow will help you create and improve your job materials by connecting information gleaned from job ads and corporate websites to experience you...

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The Graduate Student and Post-Graduate Résumé

The Graduate Student and Post-Graduate Résumé Undergraduates often tell me they are amazed at how long it takes to compose a résumé (part of this is mere perception, I think, due to the weighty nature of the document’s importance). I tell them they should plan to spend between a few hours and a day every year revising their résumé for the rest of their professional lives, and that an undergraduate résumé with a strong foundation is their best preparation. Obviously, post-graduate and graduate student résumés are grounded in the same...

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More Advanced, More Daring Résumés

More Advanced, More Daring Résumés Even though technical fields favor conventional and old-school rules, many students, particularly those with extensive experience or a diverse background, stretch the limits slightly—and smartly—when creating their résumés. Creative format and content choices on your résumé certainly are permitted, as long as they enhance rather than detract from utility and appearance. Creative Format Choices Although format must remain accessible so the eye can readily scan the résumé both horizontally and vertically, creative format choices such as the following can enhance résumé content: Jazzing up the...

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Quality Checking Your Résumé

Quality Checking Your Résumé Once your résumé is composed, it must be quality checked. Three prominent issues that arise in a quality check are content, format, and computer-related problems. Reconsidering Content Look over the résumé and be certain you have considered effective wording and strong candidate material within each category, as detailed in the previous page of this manual. Consider accuracy and professionalism. If you simply volunteered at a position two hours per week, make sure your wording reflects this. Do your examples and wording reflect someone with a professional...

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Writing the Conventional Résumé

Writing the Conventional Résumé I learned about résumé writing from my students. The students with the best résumés, I found, were those who understood that a résumé is principally an objective summary of your skills and achievements, secondly a subtly clever argument that you are worth hiring, and finally a reflection of your individuality. The key is to work within the conventions while building a résumé that only you could have written. The best way to begin is to study the conventions, then mimic the qualities of a good model, with an...

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Writing Cover Letters

When reading cover letters, the key benchmark I use is simple: Do I get to know both the person and the professional? As we read a cover letter, we should have a sense that no other candidate could have written this particular document in this particular way. Hence, we respect and honor the individual. In conversation, the term “cover letter” is used loosely to mean any professional letter that you write in an attempt to get a job, with the term “cover” denoting that the letter is usually a “cover...

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